On Monday, April 6, House Bill 2645 was signed into the Arizona state legislature by Governor Doug Dacey, allowing Arizonians to request blood test results from licensed medical clinics and laboratories without the prior approval of a physician.
The bill will go into effect in July 2015, according to AZ Central, largely due to the heavy sponsorship of Silicon Valley-based medical testing company, Theranos. Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, stated that the company has already been heavily involved with improving Arizona’s healthcare system, and that this new legislation was the next natural step.
“Every individual has the right to access actual healthcare information when they need it most, to feel better, do more, and live better,” Holmes said.
Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, proposed the bill to Arizona’s legislature, claiming that it would provide residents with “the right to order their own lab tests so they can make informed decisions — and even life-changing choices — about their health.”
Under HB 2645, Arizona will join nine other states that already allow residents to request limited blood tests without a physician’s approval. AZ Central explains that the new law does not permit consumers to request every type of lab test directly, but more common tests, like blood glucose levels and cholesterol assessments, will be accessible to consumers in any medical center where the tests are administered.
As Healthcare DIVE points out, HB 2645 seems to present very little risk for medical clinics and laboratories, and the new legislation is unlikely to have a significant impact on health insurance in the state. Tests ordered without a doctor’s approval will not have to be covered by insurance plans — neither private nor state-funded — and medical providers cannot be held accountable for “failing to review” any tests that their patients ordered directly.
Ideally, HB 2645 will simply give residents another low-cost medical strategy for detecting diseases (or the general risk that one might develop a disease) as early as possible.